The transition to renewable energy sources is becoming an increasingly visible global trend. Of all types of alternative energy, the most dynamic rates in 2017 were shown by the introduction of solar panels. If at the end of 2016 the growth of solar electricity generation amounted to 76 GW, then in 2017 this figure should be 100.4 GW.

China is the leader in the introduction of photovoltaic panels. The total capacity of solar power plants commissioned in 2017 in China is 48 GW. These rates are primarily associated with the need to improve the environmental situation in the country. Apparently, attention for the preservation of the environment in highly developed countries will increase. To imagine what solar power plants will look like in the near future, consider the most interesting developments in the field of solar panels production.

Scottish solar design: floating power plants in Glasgow

One of the most interesting projects of providing the city with solar power can be considered the idea of the company ZM Architecture. In May 2008, Scottish designers from Glasgow presented their design for floating solar panels at the International Design Competition.

Floating power plants in Glasgow

As planned by the developers, solar panels made in the form of water lilies should fill the unused areas of the Clyde River, supplying electricity to the city grid.

The jury of the competition appreciated the combination of practicality and aesthetic design, giving the project the main prize in the category “Land and Sea”. The Glasgow city authorities also liked the idea, but for unknown reasons the project was never implemented.

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Transparent tariff setting: project of a solar power plant in every house

If you are interested in new technologies, then you have probably seen projects of houses with solar panels. In most cases, these are innovative architectural projects, the façade of which is specially designed for the use of photovoltaic panels. For example, a skyscraper in Melbourne is curved to catch the sun’s rays throughout the day.

Solar power plant project

Thanks to the fashion for alternative energy, the number of such innovative projects will increase. But in order to use solar electricity it is not necessary to move to futuristic buildings. In October 2017, American scientists from Michigan State University presented a transparent material capable of generating solar energy. In its manufacture, organic molecules are used that absorb light waves, and the material itself resembles plastic.

At the moment, the efficiency of solar panels made of the new material is 5%, while the efficiency of traditional counterparts is 15-40%, but the developers plan to significantly increase this figure.

Most likely, the technological process will not fundamentally differ from the plastic manufacturing technology. Therefore, equipment for the production of solar cells from the new material will be affordable both in terms of price and technical simplicity. Serial production of windows, car glass and other products from this “energy” plastic will soon become as widespread as the production of metal-plastic structures.

Industrial design of solar panels : tile Elona Mask

Speaking about innovation and solar energy, it would be strange not to remember Elon Musk. Despite the fact that some of his projects seem fantastic, this man has already achieved serious success in some areas. For example in space exploration. The use of reusable Falcon 9 rockets reduces the cost of delivering space cargo by about 30%. Elon Musk also boasts that the Tesla Model X is one of the best-selling electric cars in the world. In 2016, this car occupied the first position in the ranking, losing it this year to the BAIC EC 180 electric car. In addition, Tesla Corporation is developing projects for car sharing, supersonic air travel, plans to launch unmanned cargo transportation and build a high-speed tunnel near Los Angeles. Such innovations are not particularly pleasing to less tech-savvy competitors.

In May 2017, gray hair was also added to manufacturers of solar panels and roofing materials. Elon Musk presented a new development of Tesla – a tile made of solar Roof photovoltaic panels. Talk about such projects began when the first solar panels began to be installed on the roofs, making houses completely independent from traditional power grids. Tesla engineers were the first to successfully combine traditional roofing and photovoltaic panels.

Industrial design of solar panels

Comparing traditional photovoltaic panels to Tesla’s roof (right), the design of the Solar Roof solar module looks much more interesting from both an aesthetic and practical point of view. At the moment, the development of the Elon Musk company is presented in four versions:

  • French tiles;
  • Tuscan roof tiles;
  • smooth glass;
  • textured glass.

Another significant benefit of the Tesla solar roof is the built-in heating elements that melt snow. It makes sense, considering that solar panels have to generate energy even in winter.

Read also: “Smart home”: from idea to design

As for the strength of the material, there are no problems with this either. Musk tweeted that the sun roof can be walked on without issue. But it looks more impressive animation posted on the Tesla website.

As you can see, Solar Roof panels are stronger than ordinary tiles, so the expression “why pay more” is not relevant in this case. If Musk’s next creation becomes more affordable, solar power plants will soon appear in suburban settlements, the design of which will depend on the imagination of home owners. At the moment, the price per square meter of Solar Roof is $ 235, but photocells can be alternated with “empty” tiles, which will reduce the final cost of the project.

Solar panel design in the gadgets of the future

Fans of Steve Jobs often fantasize: what would the world be like if it hadn’t left us so early. Opponents cool their ardor by declaring that it is impossible to bring anything fundamentally new to smartphones. But Stephen Jobs has always managed to make his inventions as innovative and user-friendly as possible.

We will also try to fantasize and imagine what ideas based on solar panels could come to the mind of this inventor.

  1. iPhone and iPad Solar. Despite the fact that the capacity of smartphone batteries is constantly increasing, they still need to be recharged periodically. This problem is especially acute for lovers of hiking. Imagine a three-day hike in the mountains or forest with tents. It is clear that the camera will work a little less often than constantly. Or, for example, a stream from the Glastonbury Music Festival. No battery can withstand such prolonged loads without recharging or using external batteries. None, except sunny.
    Imagine that the back panel of your smartphone (or induction-style cover plate) is made of photovoltaic materials, and the glass is made of plastic developed at the Michigan Institute. That is, your phone charges in any position. Of course, up to the “position” in the pocket.
  2. MacBook Pro Solar. It’s easier with a laptop. This gadget is used mainly at home and in the office, where you can charge it without any problems. But IT pros, designers, and copywriters who love to work in nature, away from office noise and households, would appreciate a laptop powered by solar energy. This can be a photovoltaic housing and glass or a charger that connects to an electrical outlet.
  3. iPod Solar. A similar invention would be to the taste of hikers. Imagine that you can walk for weeks away from civilization, enjoying your favorite music. The MP3 player is usually in your pocket, so a photocell connected to the player can be attached to a backpack, clothing or on the shoulder using a special strap.
  4. iCool. Stephen Jobs did not drink beer, but he could sometimes afford a glass of non-alcoholic. Therefore, he could well develop a portable beverage cooler. Imagine that you are out in the countryside with your friends, filling a trunk full of beer or any other drinks. The alternative now is to take pre-chilled bottles from home and put them in an insulated bag or cooler box with ice. But if you go for a few days, none of the options will suit you. Therefore, in such cases, bottles are usually placed in water (although they are not always found later). With a solar-powered portable refrigerator, the trunk can be loaded to capacity. By the way, if a temperature adjustment function is provided in such a gadget, you can store food in it.

Read also: 3D modeling of the electronics housing

To some, these ideas may seem too futuristic and unrealistic. However, few people know that back in 1985, a fantastic gadget at that time was released in the Soviet Union – the Lel RP-402 radio receiver.

Miracle of Soviet technology

This miracle of Soviet technology worked perfectly in the sun without conventional batteries. Taking into account the annual increase in battery charging speed and the efficiency of photovoltaic panels, the emergence of popular solar-powered gadgets does not seem so fantastic.

If you have innovative designs, but have problems with industrial design , the KLONA company will make your product attractive to the consumer. We are specialized in 3D modeling and we can implement the project according to your drawings. If your 3D project does not satisfy you or a potential customer, our specialists will help improve the prototype you have developed